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Old 06-20-2013, 08:17 AM   #1
brebeans
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Chinese Food and Liquor Decanters

This has been a question and, sort of, a pet peeve of mine so I thought I'd post it here.

In many, many, many movies and TV series, whenever people eat Chinese food, they are eating out of the containers (frequently in bed, but not always!) and usually, with chopsticks. Do people who aren't in movies or TV shows really do this? I mean, I know that I've occasionally had a forkful of lo mein out of the container, but their meals and conversation are all around eating their meal out of the "to go" containers. Anyone?

Also, this especially happens in soap operas, but also movies and other TV shows or, certainly, Mad Men....So many people just 'casually' have all varieties of liquor in decanters, just on the side table, sofa table, buffet, etc. Again...do "real" aka, non TV/movie people have decanters of liquor around the house or the office ( I know times have changed since Mad Men so they might not be around the office as much) ? Just curious and thought this forum might be a good place to start the discussion and get some answers. And also, what TV shows, movies, etc. do you recall the Chinese food out of container (or NOT?) and decanters of liquors?
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Old 06-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by brebeans View Post
This has been a question and, sort of, a pet peeve of mine so I thought I'd post it here.

In many, many, many movies and TV series, whenever people eat Chinese food, they are eating out of the containers (frequently in bed, but not always!) and usually, with chopsticks. Do people who aren't in movies or TV shows really do this? I mean, I know that I've occasionally had a forkful of lo mein out of the container, but their meals and conversation are all around eating their meal out of the "to go" containers. Anyone?

Also, this especially happens in soap operas, but also movies and other TV shows or, certainly, Mad Men....So many people just 'casually' have all varieties of liquor in decanters, just on the side table, sofa table, buffet, etc. Again...do "real" aka, non TV/movie people have decanters of liquor around the house or the office ( I know times have changed since Mad Men so they might not be around the office as much) ? Just curious and thought this forum might be a good place to start the discussion and get some answers. And also, what TV shows, movies, etc. do you recall the Chinese food out of container (or NOT?) and decanters of liquors?
I don't really drink so I can't speak to the decanters, but for Chinese, we serve it on plates. But, I think if I was single, I might just eat out of the containers. We use forks, not chopsticks.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #3
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I always eat out of the fried rice and lo mein containers. Damn, now I want some.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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I would use a decanter if I had one. I know a few people who do.

As to the Chinese food question... never like they do it on TV. I like how they always have like 6 containers but never open more than 1 or 2.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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I always eat out of the fried rice and lo mein containers. Damn, now I want some.

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Old 06-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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I would use a decanter if I had one. I know a few people who do.

As to the Chinese food question... never like they do it on TV. I like how they always have like 6 containers but never open more than 1 or 2.
Yup....agree. And, when they eat them in bed, usually either "pre or post"....I just want to say.. .."eeeewww, don't get that soy sauce or dumplings on the bed!". I can't recall anything, lately, where I've seen this on TV or movies, well, other than Mad Men, but I do see it often. Seems like either an indulgence, luxury, or "just something that happens 'in the movies'".
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:26 AM   #7
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Back when I lived someplace where the Chinese restaurants didn't suck, I'd often eat directly out of the takeout containers with chopsticks if it was a dish that was good cold. If it was something I wanted reheated, I usually dumped it on plate, since it would usually microwave better (I've had some sparking from microwaving the takeout containers with the wire handle).

Re: Decanters: If I had room for them, I might use them. As it is, I barely have room for my liquor bottles as it is. As I slowly plan what I want in my next house, "room for a small service bar and big liquor cabinet" is on the list. I usually have a bottle of scotch handy (not in the living room, but my house has one of those giant combined Great Rooms with Kitchen, Dining Room, and Living Room all as one combined space).

I'm still a little annoyed that when my great aunt died, my mom sold her rather cool collection of 1950s decanters for $5 at a yard sale. I would have taken them...
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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I was thinking about the Chinese food a little more, and there's been times when I ordered a lunch special and ate it out of the containers because I simply had no plates.

I know Mad Men was mentioned with decanters. Remember that series takes place 45-50 years ago, and are showing wealthy men. Perhaps that was the norm in that era. I'm too young to remember, and my parents weren't wealthy. Aren't there some liquors that are supposed to breathe and perhaps do better in a decanter? My inlaws would put the Shabbos wine in a decanter but, that was more ceremonial than anything.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:51 PM   #9
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I actually have decanters but I'm afraid to use them for long term liquor holding as they are leaded crystal.
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:16 PM   #10
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I was thinking about the Chinese food a little more, and there's been times when I ordered a lunch special and ate it out of the containers because I simply had no plates.

I know Mad Men was mentioned with decanters. Remember that series takes place 45-50 years ago, and are showing wealthy men. Perhaps that was the norm in that era. I'm too young to remember, and my parents weren't wealthy. Aren't there some liquors that are supposed to breathe and perhaps do better in a decanter? My inlaws would put the Shabbos wine in a decanter but, that was more ceremonial than anything.
Wine is different. Decanting helps aerate it and also helps prevent sediment from getting into your glass. I don't think there's any real benefit to decanting whiskey or the like beyond aesthetics and perhaps pour-ability.
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Old 06-20-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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One reason for decanters is so that the show doesn't have to display "Real" booze labels and therefore be seen as sponsoring that variety of booze, kind of reverse product placement. That's why characters usually ask for "Whiskey" or "Scotch" instead of a specific brand (although in the most recent episode of "Magic City" one of the waiters brought the boss a "Cutty Sark on the rocks"). it goes back to when you couldn't advertise hard liquor on TV.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:04 PM   #12
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I actually have decanters but I'm afraid to use them for long term liquor holding as they are leaded crystal.
I wonder how many people over the years got some degree of lead poisoning from their lead crystal decanters?
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:09 PM   #13
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I always eat out of the fried rice and lo mein containers. Damn, now I want some.
When you're alone it's one thing, but when you see a group of people all eating out of containers that means nobody is sharing. "I got the kung pow chicken, and nobody else can have any."
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:50 PM   #14
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Back in the 60's and 70's I know for sure my parents used decanters because I have them all.

I have them stored in a 8 feet long teak bar that they had built for them when they lived in Taiwan; has a sweet brass foot rail, padded arm rest along the front and an ass ton of storage in drawers, cabinets and a fold down prep table.

I kind of wish that the folks I hang out with drank enough to make it a centerpiece of the basement. Right now it is stuck in a corner and I usually set it up when the family plays blackjack as it has room for a 7 spot layout.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:43 PM   #15
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as stated the liqour decanters are used to avoid displaying brands.

chinese food is common movie food for continuity reasons. They don't even have to have food in them, and if there is, you can't see how much has been eaten take to take.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:36 PM   #16
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I think they eat out of the Chinese food cartons on TV and movies because that way they won't have any continuity issues. Since you can't see what is in the container, it isn't a concern. In real life most people would dish it out onto a plate ( unless you are eating alone...then the container is fine!)
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:53 AM   #17
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I drink straight from the bottle. No middle mad men for me.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:40 AM   #18
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One of my favorites is how people "sign" their text messages. The characters phone will say something like "Call me. Love Mom". Nobody does that in real life.

I also love how everyone on TV answers unknown phone numbers. I would NEVER.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:32 PM   #19
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As someone with a fairly extensive bar, I can tell you I don't use any decanters. We have a couple of really nice crystal ones, but they just sit on display with a couple other pieces of nice crystal.

Main reason is because I have too many liquors, and it wouldn't make any sense to just put one or two in decanters, when I drink a variety. For example, at any point in time, I might have 10-12 single-malt Scotches I'm working my way thru. Which one gets decantered? I also drink Sherry (thanks to years of hearing Frasier say "Sherry, Niles?"), and usually have 5-6 to choose from. Again, which one do you decanter?

I suppose the only way it makes sense is if you drink one liquor with great regularity, say Crown Royal all the time. Then you could put it in a decanter, knowing you would be reaching for it every day.

Just not my style, nor I imagine most people's these days.

If anyone uses them, I'd like to hear why.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:41 PM   #20
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One reason for decanters is so that the show doesn't have to display "Real" booze labels and therefore be seen as sponsoring that variety of booze, kind of reverse product placement. That's why characters usually ask for "Whiskey" or "Scotch" instead of a specific brand (although in the most recent episode of "Magic City" one of the waiters brought the boss a "Cutty Sark on the rocks"). it goes back to when you couldn't advertise hard liquor on TV.
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as stated the liqour decanters are used to avoid displaying brands.
No!

Decanters were very stylish in the '60s. My dad was an executive during this error. So much rings true to what I remember. He had decanters and used them. They were nice crystal with sterling silver name plates.

We currently have a set sitting out on top of our bar with the name plates, but they are empty. I really think it was just a way of showing off back then. They really don't seem practical now.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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The thing I really don't get about eating out of the Chinese containers is that it takes away sharing and trying all the ordered items. There are only a very few people who I'd eat out of the same container, and half the fun of eating Chinese food is sampling many entrees.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:05 AM   #22
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No!

Decanters were very stylish in the '60s. My dad was an executive during this error. So much rings true to what I remember. He had decanters and used them. They were nice crystal with sterling silver name plates.

We currently have a set sitting out on top of our bar with the name plates, but they are empty. I really think it was just a way of showing off back then. They really don't seem practical now.

YES!

We're not just talking about Mad Men, where, yes, decanters make sense, but nearly every instance of liqour on television. Decanters are used to avoid distinctive bottles and labels.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:06 AM   #23
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I guess the eating of Chinese food directly out of the containers has become a kind of show business convention.

It's kind of like every time bomb has to have clock display.

True confessions: I will eat leftover Chinese food out of the container after it has been sitting in the fridge. I don't think my wife cares. I'm pretty sure she does the same thing.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:11 AM   #24
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YES!

We're not just talking about Mad Men, where, yes, decanters make sense, but nearly every instance of liqour on television. Decanters are used to avoid distinctive bottles and labels.
I saw that coming.

I still think it is primarily a matter of style first.

They have figured out how to disguise brands of anything if they want to long ago. There is no need to use decanters unless they want to and it fits the situation.

Perhaps we watch very different stuff on TV. I see way more liqueur being poured from bottles than decanters.
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:28 AM   #25
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I guess the eating of Chinese food directly out of the containers has become a kind of show business convention.

It's kind of like every time bomb has to have clock display.

True confessions: I will eat leftover Chinese food out of the container after it has been sitting in the fridge. I don't think my wife cares. I'm pretty sure she does the same thing.
I think there's a huge difference between sharing a container (leftover or not) with your spouse vs sharing it with your co-workers (often in a police station).

And of course, I NEED Chinese food today after this thread.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:25 PM   #26
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No!

Decanters were very stylish in the '60s. My dad was an executive during this error.
Wow. A whole decade an error?
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:37 AM   #27
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Wow. A whole decade an error?
Lol. Thank you!
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:10 AM   #28
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Wow. A whole decade an error?
I've had decades like that
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:31 AM   #29
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One of my favorites is how people "sign" their text messages. The characters phone will say something like "Call me. Love Mom". Nobody does that in real life.
My mom does. She also often signs her FB updates.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:15 PM   #30
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I haven't seen a Chinese food container like they show on TV in ages. No place around me serves in them. They just use the standard styrofoam container. At home I don't eat out of the container I put it on a plate just like I do with drinks I always pour them into a glass.
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